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Factbox: Billionaires battle CEOs at Italy's Generali and Mediobanca

European Commission authorizes Generali takeover offer of Cattolica
European Commission authorizes Generali takeover offer of Cattolica   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  
By Reuters

<div> <p><span class="caps">MILAN</span> – Power struggles at insurer Generali and Mediobanca have billionaires Leonardo Del Vecchio and Francesco Gaetano Caltagirone pitted against the <span class="caps">CEO</span>s of both groups.</p> <p>Here are the key facts in a growing confrontation over the strategies of both Italy’s most powerful investment bank and the country’s biggest insurer, which holds 61 billion euros in Italian government bonds. </p> <p><span class="caps">TYCOONS</span> IN <span class="caps">GENERALI</span> <span class="caps">PACT</span></p> <p>Del Vecchio, 86, Caltagirone, 78, clinched a shareholder pact in September to consult over decisions concerning Generali ahead of a general meeting in early 2022 to name a new board.</p> <p>They control a combined 12.5% stake in the insurer, after a third smaller investor recently joined their pact, and are opposing a third mandate for Generali’s current <span class="caps">CEO</span> Philippe Donnet, who has the backing of Mediobanca.</p> <p>They have criticised Donnet’s M&A strategy as too timid, but have not explained what their alternative plan is.</p> <p><span class="caps">MEDIOBANCA</span> <span class="caps">UPS</span> <span class="caps">GENERALI</span> <span class="caps">VOTING</span> <span class="caps">STAKE</span></p> <p>Mediobanca last week borrowed shares to secure 17.2% of the voting rights in Generali until its <span class="caps">AGM</span> next year.</p> <p>Mediobanca gets a third of its revenue from a 13% stake in Generali and is the biggest investor in the insurer. </p> <p><span class="caps">GENERALI</span> <span class="caps">BOARD</span> <span class="caps">DIVIDED</span></p> <p>Generali’s outgoing board on Monday agreed by a majority to file a slate of nominees for the April 2022 shareholder vote, including Donnet as <span class="caps">CEO</span>. The decision was backed by nine of 13 board members and opposed by the four representatives of the two tycoons.</p> <p><span class="caps">MEDIOBANCA</span> <span class="caps">FEUD</span> </p> <p>Del Vecchio proposed changing the merchant bank’s by-laws at a shareholders meeting on Oct. 28, stepping up pressure on Mediobanca’s top management. Del Vecchio, however, said he was not pushing for management or board changes.</p> <p>Luxottica’s founder is the bank’s single biggest investor with a 18.9% stake. Caltagirone has also built a 3% stake in Mediobanca, piling pressure on its <span class="caps">CEO</span> Alberto Nagel.</p> <p><span class="caps">SEEKING</span> <span class="caps">ALLIES</span></p> <p>Caltagirone and Del Vecchio are expected to present their own slate of nominees for Generali’s board, suggesting an alternative candidate as <span class="caps">CEO</span>. They are also seeking allies ahead of the April <span class="caps">AGM</span>. </p> <p>Italy’s powerful Benetton family, which owns 4% of Generali and 2% of Mediobanca, is under the spotlight after announcing it was leaving the Milanese bank’s shareholders pact.</p> <p>Institutional investors own around 40% of Generali and their vote would be decisive at the <span class="caps">AGM</span>.</p> <p>($1 = 1.1714 euros)</p> <p/> </div>